Consider for a moment how much you have invested in your physical life. Likely as not you put forth much effort in deciding which career to pursue then searched diligently for the right college. Much money was spent on books and numerous other study-related materials. Day after day you sat through seemingly endless lectures then spent your nights laboring over notes and books.
Obviously you considered yourself worth investing in or you wouldn’t have taken such initiative. You took the necessary steps towards developing your academic skills through teachers, professors and books. The person you are today is much different than the awkward student you once were when you were struggling to learn. You have transcended the gap and have a much better standing in the world.
Perhaps you didn’t attend college but chose another avenue towards building a life for yourself. Regardless of the path you chose you still had to persevere in order to achieve the position you now hold in the world. Everything you did to get to where you are now whether it was time, money or effort was an investment in yourself.
How much have you invested in your spiritual growth? Are you worth investing in? Is your Christian character any stronger now than it was when you first became a Christian? While you may possess some Christian attributes, are they fully developed? Would your Christian character hold up under scrutiny?
Contrary to popular belief, Christian character does not develop on its own. The kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price which, when a man found, he and went and sold all that he had to possess it. What value do you place upon spiritual maturity in Christ?
They say that life is what you make it and anything worth having is worth working for. It all depends on how bad you want it and your desire to have it is determined by how much you are willing to invest. You made the investment necessary to develop the skills you would need to function well in the world. How much have you invested in developing the skills needed to build Christian character?
Building Christian character involves the same kind of investment such as devotion to prayer and Bible study along with practical experience. Earthly teachers are willing to teach but they cannot teach you if you are not present and attentive. It’s the same with God. He has provided you with His Word which is able to discern your thoughts and mind as the Holy Spirit guides you into all knowledge of the truth. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2Tim. 3:16)
There are a number of commentaries and Bible tools available to help you study and learn to develop Christian attributes. Many of these helps are absolutely free via the Internet so most of your investment will be time and effort.
Earthly labor produces money, recognition and self-esteem. As you advance in your skill your earnings increase. These are the fruits of your labor or rewards for all of your hard work and perseverance. But you could not have earned these things without the education and training you went through to get to this point.
Jesus said that you receive rewards for works of kindness and obedience which are stored in heaven. As you struggle in prayer and Bible study, applying what you learn to daily life, you grow in the kind of wisdom and truth that enables you to bear spiritual fruit which will become your heavenly treasure. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:21)
In addition to your heavenly treasures you will have the privilege of hearing the Master say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” which is what every true Christian longs to hear. What’s more, your spiritual maturity will shine forth with a light greater than the sun when the children of God are finally revealed. “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:18-19) (see also Matt. 13:43)
Christian attributes take time to develop and the time it takes depends on your willingness to learn or how much you invest in the endeavor. The more you put into it the more you get out which is true of any worthwhile endeavor.
Spending time in the Word of God with fervent prayer will begin to influence the way you think and feel. When you apply what God has taught you (Be doers of the word and not hearers only) then He will reveal more if you are exercised by it. (Matt.25:29) He will not give you more until you learn, through testing, what He has already given you. You were tested when learning academics and if you failed the test you had to go back and study until you learned.
As a Christian you should strive to be a useful vessel unto the Lord by developing spiritual discernment in order to function properly as a child of God in a sinful world. You bear the light (truth) and as a representative of our Lord you are to bring Him glory. “You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16)
It is not enough to simply have good morals. Many unsaved people have good morals. Christian attributes include patience, understanding and kindness even under the worst circumstances towards all people including your enemies. It involves adherence to your honesty and integrity when God creates the circumstances needed to test it.
Your standing in this world may not be one of glamour or prestige but it is much better than the one you would have received had you not put forth the effort it took to be where you are today. Having conquered all of the challenges and struggles you faced establishing your position in this world, don’t you think you are worth the investment to tackle the struggles associated with learning how to develop spiritual maturity and good Christian character?
Being good at your profession makes you very valuable to you superiors and a role model for your subordinates. But you weren’t born with these abilities and your skills were not learned overnight. They came through learning and experience which is exactly how you develop spiritual skills.
Christian attributes are not simply bestowed upon the recipients of salvation. The Scriptures are quite clear about this. The need for spiritual nourishment from the Word is clearly marked out in numerous passages such as 1 Cor. 3: 1-2 where Paul says, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly- mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”
You have worked hard to secure a decent future which is good. The Bible says you are to work to take care of your needs and the needs of those who may need your help. Even the Apostle Paul worked. He was a tent maker but he wasn’t born with this ability he had to learn it just as you had to learn your profession. But he also learned spiritual discipline through many trials. He was beaten, shipwrecked and had his life threatened on many occasions.
When it comes to Christian character the Apostle Paul is a prime example. He always made the best of his circumstances and rather than complain he thanked God for the hardships he suffered. He readily accepted every situation that developed as part of God’s plan for his life. In other words he trusted God in all his circumstances. Anyone who is at all familiar with the life of the Apostle Paul knows that he faced some very difficult situations even in his old age.
Therefore, regardless of your age or gender, it’s not too late to begin the journey towards developing strong Christian attributes as Christ is being formed in you. (Gal. 4:19) Do you have what it takes to run the race and the endurance to finish? As previously stated, anything worth having is worth working for and to say that good Christian character is worth having is truly an understatement.
Lastly, if it was worth the investment to gain your current status in the world, how much more valuable would an investment in your spiritual life be? It will be a struggle just as it was when you were climbing the ranks to where you wanted to be in this world. However, the benefits you received from worldly ambitions apply only to this life which is passing away but the benefits of developing spiritual skills and building Christian character are eternal.